Pros: Addictive, easy to navigate, interesting, unique in some ways.
Cons: Game progresses rapidly. You can max them all out in a matter of days.
I have seen a variety of games where you navigate a character through an endless series of obstacles. There is a squirrel that runs up the side of a tree, a ninja that jumps between buildings and the car games that are the likely inspiration for this type of game. Among the better games I have found is a rather simple game called Temple Run.
I picked up Temple Runfrom the iStore when it was free. It had a high user rating, which doesn't always mean very much. I have downloaded several "highly rated" games only to delete them an hour later. But this game is different. The tutorial quickly runs gamers through a variety of scenarios that allow you to learn the navigational tools, then game play begins. It doesn't take much to learn, and for some reason, the game becomes hard to put down.
The objective of the game is to outrun ghouls that are chasing your explorer from a temple ruins. Your run takes you on a variety of castle walls, wooden piers and rock formations. These pathways are obstructed by rings of fire, trees and more. As you navigate the obstacles, you are also collecting coins, which can be used to improve your character and purchase improved in-game features. The game makes money by selling the coins you collect in the game. But you really don't need to buy coins unless you are just incredibly impatient. Progressing forward is half the fun. You lose if the ghouls catch you or if you run off course.
You control your character with basically two movements. Tilting your iPhone left and right will move your character left or right on the screen. This is necessary to collect coins that sometimes cling closely to the edges of your pathway. The other movement is a finger-swipe. Swiping your finger up causes your character to jump. Swiping down makes your adventurer go into a home-plate slide (for getting under low clearances) and swiping left or right makes your character corner in the direction of your finger swipe. That is the entirety of the controls.
Temple Run includes a number of objectives. The game lets you know when you have set a new mileage record, or a new record for the number of coins you have collected. Your score is a combination of both. When you get a new high score, that is also reflected. Additionally, the game has a number of challenges that you can undertake, which are all related to distance, coins, score or distance without collecting any coins. There are also objectives for character upgrades, which are really more about having better control of your character as the pace of the game increases.
As you collect coins, you can purchase "powerups," "utilities" or characters. There are four advanced characters, each with a progressively sharper skill set. The characters get very expensive, so a good strategy is to improve the powerups initially. The powerups appear during game play and give you distinct advantages. A circular gold icon that looks like a glove appears from time to time. This powerup is worth a set amount of gold, which you can increase the value in stages. I like the magnet icon, which draws all the coins to you without having to move side to side. When you max this powerup out, it also triples the coin value. Invisibility allows you to pass through objects, but you still have to remain on course. Boost will move you ahead a given number of meters in the game, collecting any coins it hits along the way, while navigating the route without assistance.
There are only two utilities, which can be very helpful as you progress further in the game. The first is a set of angels wings, which resurrect your character if you die. You can purchase as many of these as you want, but you cannot use them consecutively. When they expire (or you die), you have to wait a period of time before they can be activated again. The other utility is a boost, that moves your character from the starting line to the 1000 meter mark.
Temple Run is a simple to learn time killer. Each game can last up to five or ten minutes, depending on your skill level. It is addictive, but can be played in stages. If you have five minutes to kill, you can play a quick game and come back to it later. You can also pause a game in the middle and you will get a three second count-down when you return. I have maxed out the game and completed all of the objectives, but still find it a decent waste of time when I have a few minutes to kill. That isn't very often, but it's nice to have company if you are waiting in line somewhere. I probably wouldn't pay for this application. Four stars.